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Flashcards in 10. Strict Liability Deck (20)
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3 Causes of Action for Strict Liability

1. Injuries caused by animals

2. Abnormally Dangerous Activities

3. Defective Products


What animals confer strict liability?

Domesticated animal — No strict liability

Wild Animals — Strict Liability


Two exceptions to the strict liability for animals:

1: If you have prior knowledge that your domestic animal has vicious propensities, we will hold you strictly liable. (First bite puts you on notice)

2: No strict liability to trespassers, even if you know of its vicious propensities.


What is required for an activity to be considered "Abnormally Dangerous?"

1. The activity creates a foreseeable risk of serious harm, even when reasonable care is being exercised.

2. The activity must be unusual in the area where it is being conducted.


Three examples of Abnormally Dangerous Activities that are often used:

Blasting (Explosives)
The use of dangerous chemical or biological material
Anything involving Nuclear or radioactive materials in significant quantities that could cause harm


What effect do safety precautions have on abnormally dangerous activities?

None. That's the point of strict liability.



Very expansive — Includes all forms of household products, cars, appliances, foodstuffs, medications, computer, forklift, punch-press, etc.


Elements required for Defective product strict liability

1. P must prove that D is a merchant

2. Proof of a defect

3. The Product has not been altered since it left the D’s hands

4. Plaintiff is making a foreseeable use of the product



Someone who ordinarily deals with goods of this type


Four ways to test Merchants:

1. Casual Sellers: people who occasionally sells items

2. Service Providers: Individuals whose primary economic function is services, will often make products collaterally to that service

3. Lessors: People who rent or lease products CAN be held strictly liable

4. Parties not dealt directly with: Parties up the distribution chain Can be strictly liable


Three often kinds of defects:

1. Manufacturing Defect

2. Design Defect

3. Informational Defect


Manufacturing Defect

When it differs from all the others that came off same assembly line in a way that makes it more dangerous than consumers would expect. (When it departs from its intended design)


Design Defect

When it could have been viably built differently and in a safer way.


Does conformation to government regulations affect whether a product was defectively designed?

If there are government regulations, failure to conform is usually proof that the product is defective, but compliance with the regulation suggests that the product is ok, but it is not conclusive


Informational Defect

If a product has risks that cannot be viably designed away at a reasonable cost in a practical fashion, and consumers are unaware of the risk, the product is defective unless it has adequate warnings.


Adequate Warning

Must be sufficient to warn the consumer of the danger (ex. might need to be right at the point of danger, in multiple languages, use pictures, etc.)


Will a warning always bar strict liability?

If the product has a design defect, you will not escape liability by placing a warning on it. (ex. you can’t just put a warning on a Ford Pinto)


Element of Defective Products: Product has not been altered

If the product has moved through ordinary channels, there is a presumption of non-alteration.


Element of Defective Products: P is Making a Foreseeable use of the Product

If they are entirely foreseeable, it does not matter if it was the intended use of the product


What defense does a D have against strict liability?

Comparative Responsibility: Same as comparative fault